Qatar's Qsuite-Equipped A350-1000 Will Soon Fly to New York
Qatar Airways became the world's first operator of the Airbus A350-1000 when it took delivery of its first extended-length XWB in February. TPG and I even had an opportunity to join the delivery flight to Doha (DOH) — it's easily Qatar's best Airbus yet.
While the -1000 has been flying to London (LHR) for months, at the launch event in Toulouse, France, Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker confirmed that the carrier would soon launch its new plane on flights to the East Coast of the United States as well. On Wednesday, we found out when that'll be.
Beginning Sunday October 28, Qatar will replace its evening Boeing 777-300ER flight from New York-JFK with the A350-1000, operating as QR 702 on the flight to Doha and QR 701 on the return. The A350-900 will continue operating the morning flights, QR 703 and QR 704, flying with Qatar's reverse-herringbone 1-2-1 seat, instead of the far more private Qsuite product.
While Qatar's plane will be the first A350-1000 to fly daily to New York, Cathay Pacific will inaugurate US service for the type a few weeks before, when it begins flying to Washington, D.C. (IAD) on September 15.
Business class will drop from 48 Qsuite seats on the 777-300ER to 46. The A350 also offers more comfort in economy, with seats arranged in a 3-3-3 configuration, instead of 3-4-3 on the 777-300ER. There are a total of 281 coach seats, compared with 312 on the 777 used today — while passengers will be more comfortable on board, the airline isn't giving up too many seats.
Business-class fares from JFK to Doha are priced starting at a steep $6,200 one-way or $9,800 round-trip, but connecting flights can often be found for far cheaper — continuing on to Delhi, India (DEL) would drop the price to about $4,400 round-trip, for example.
While I haven't been able to find business-class awards for the new A350-1000, there are plenty of awards on the morning A350-900 flight from JFK. Unfortunately the -900 doesn't offer Qsuite currently, though the airline's most recent A350-900s have been delivered with the latest business-class product — while the older reverse-herringbone configuration is assigned for now, even the -900 flights could end up flying with Qsuite in the future.
As a Oneworld carrier, you can redeem American Airlines AAdvantage miles for Qatar flights — one-way tickets cost 40,000 miles in economy or 70,000 in business class. You can also book awards with British Airways Avios, but at 105,000 each way for biz between NYC and Doha, plus more than $650 in taxes and fees, AAdvantage is a much better choice.